• That's right, twentieth!

    An overgenerous donation from a friend who appreciated my Serendipity work made a cozy celebration possible. We went to Houston's for dinner, where Eri had the best prime rib we've ever tasted. (Prime rib is traditional for our wedding celebrations.)

    The evening was enchanted. Every light turned green as we approached it. We found parking spaces in crowded lots. We found a "Modern Bridal Shop Elite Fighting Academy" sign (thankfully, they weren't training brides that way 20 years ago.)

    Rather than something mundane like a movie, we went to S.A.K. Comedy Lab. I've always enjoyed improv, and these guys did a really good job, while keeping it PG-13. Along the way, we got to see some interesting advertising games going on outside, and the gallery downstairs.

    Finally, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a Mississippi Mud Pie (also a wedding celebration tradition). While their peanut butter cheesecake was delicious, their mud pie was direly deficient. It's supposed to be coffee and chocolate ice cream, with a layer of fudge on top, with an oreo cracker crust. Theirs was a chocolate cake, topped with a scoop of coffee and a scoop of vanilla, with whipped cream, a cherry, and fudge on the side. Anybody know where you can get a good mud pie in Orlando?

    We didn't want to go to bed, but all good things must end eventually. We had a great time, and it's a night we won't soon forget.

  • On Tuesday, Greg Frenette, manager of Ford's Global Electrified Fleets, came to UCF with a prototype Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electic Vehicle (PHEV) to show off their new solar EV charging station. I had received an invitation via Facebook, and I planned to show up early and charge my home-built EV in the new spaces. I figured I'd be available if there was a problem, and Silent E would likely get a picture with Ford's prototype. I had even washed and waxed her for the event.

    Unfortunately, one of my children got sick, and I had to take her to the doctor. I didn't have time to attend the photo-op, but I did go to the lecture.

    And thus began the adventure.

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: Crashing the Party"

  • Today I went out to fix my car. Tomorrow is my approximate birthday, and we'll have some sort of event, so I won't have time then. On March 2nd UCF unveils its Ford Escape plug-in hybrid and solar recharging station, and I want to bring Silent E. So this is my last chance.

    I started trying to find the short by tracing the wires from the contactors all the way around to their origin. Since the car is low to the ground, and I'm 6'2", this is back-breaking labor. I kept at it for about an hour and a half, verifying with the multimeter that I was looking at the right wires.

    Having found that the ignition wire was ground all the time, I went to the dashboard. In minutes I had ascertained the problem.

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: Surprisingly Easy"

  • Since Omi's moved into a retirement community, we're cleaning out her apartment, getting it ready for sale. Today Nathan came to help us move stuff. We rented a big U-Haul; it didn't fit, and the homeowner's association would allow us to keep it on the property anyway.

    We tried to move two 7-foot solid oak bookshelves, but they wouldn't fit in the elevator. No way were lugging them down 7 flights of stairs, either. Nathan got to take anything he wanted from Opi's tool closet. But the big acquisition of the day had to be the HDTV.

    Continue reading "Birthday TV"

  • A combination of cold, work, and family events has prevented me from working on my car lately. After Kayla dinged my nice paint job with the door of our other car, I cleaned out my side of the garage and moved Silent E where she'd be safe.

    After a quick 1.5A refresh charge, I figured I'd take another shot at rescuing my two leftover batteries. They'd gone bad when I had my motor disaster, as you recall. Sometimes, if you use high voltage and low current, you can get the battery back.

    The first battery seemed to work overnight! It was at 13 volts the next morning. I may be able to up my range a little, or replace that one battery that's driving me nuts! I plugged the second battery in and left it overnight.

    The next morning I kept waking up, wondering what the horrible smell was. I thought a cat had been incontinent right in the room. It was terrible. Eri woke up once, too; she asked if I had been farting. :-O When she mentioned it smelled like rotten eggs, a light went off: sulfur!

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: Stink"